Millions of people shop online everyday, spending of hundreds of billions of dollars. The number of online retailers is equally impressive, which means that you get a wide range of shops to choose from, but also that you fall a victim of fraud shops. However, there are certain steps you can take that will help you choose a trustworthy shop. Take a look at our list of 10 free tips that will make your shopping safer!
1. Source code
When you go to a website, right click on it and view the source code. Most professional and trustworthy sites are built by webdesigners from scratch, so if you see there a sentence that looks more or less like this “Created with HTML Generator Plus”, it might be a sign that something’s fishy.
If a site asks for sensitive data (credit card details, home address etc.), make sure it’s encrypted with SSL. The easiest way to know if it is is by checking the URL – SSL protected sites start with https://
3. Detailed information
Look for payment companies logo (e.g. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Maestro). Shops that process online payments have gone through a scrupulous check up by financial institutions, so if they trust them, co can you!
Whois is a great tool for looking up historical information of any website – IP address, name server, registrar and screenshot history.
Alexa lets you see a site’s popularity, other sites that link to it, queries that drive traffic to it and details about who visits the site (age, education, gender).
7. Page rank
PageRank is a numeric value that represents how important a page is on the web. When one page links to another page, it is casting a vote for the other page. The more votes that are cast for a page and the higher PR number, the more important the page is.
Fraud or spam websites can be blacklisted to warn others of a suspicious sites. If a site shows up once on a blacklist, it might be an error, but if it’s labeled as spam by majority of servers, then you can be pretty sure it is in fact one.
A company claims it’s been in the e-business for 10 years? Webarchive lets you check what the site looked like years ago and if the merchant is telling the truth.
10. Internet opinions
Not 100% trustworthy as merchants can write fake reviews, but googling for opinions is always a good idea. Some tools like Web of Trust even rate sites by their trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy and child safety. Now that millions of people use Facebook and Twitter, social media platforms are also a great source for others’ opinions. Some shops like to show off their ‘Verified Merchant’ badge given to them by their business partners to ensure the clients that they can be trusted.
If you are suspicious of a site, before finalising your purchase make sure to at least check a few of the steps described above – it might save you time, money and energy. Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments!
photo source: SXC.hu